Companies have launched a $400bn fundraising blitz in the first three weeks of 2021 as the torrent of government and central bank stimulus to rescue global economies cascades across capital markets.

The global bond and equity fundraising spree marks one of the biggest hauls of the past two decades for the comparable period and is about $170bn above the average for this time of year, a Financial Times analysis of Refinitiv data shows.

Corporate debt and equity markets have remained unfazed while much of Europe and the US grapples with a deadly wave of Covid-19, allowing executives to jump on record-low interest rates and rallying stock prices to expand their businesses, reorganise their shareholder base or cash out.

“The only thing that matters to markets is global fiscal and monetary policy,” said John McClain, portfolio manager at Diamond Hill Capital Management. “Markets are priced as though coronavirus doesn’t matter any more.” This article is part of the FT’s Runaway Markets series. (FT)

Column chart of Volume raised for Jan 1-22 each year ($bn)  showing Spac mania boosts equity fundraisings in 2021 Line chart of Index (2010 = 100) showing Global trade recovers to pre-pandemic levels

Covid-19 vaccination must go hand-in-hand with virus suppression, not become a substitute for it, writes Anjana Ahuja. Follow our live blog for the latest.

Leon Black steps down at Apollo The private equity group’s founder will step down as chief executive after law firm Dechert’s review into his relationship with the late paedophile Jeffrey Epstein revealed he had made far larger payments than previously known. (FT)

London’s financial services future Jonathan Hill, the former minister leading the UK’s review of the City, has predicted the EU will not grant British-based firms the highly prized access to the European market. The UK and EU’s Brexit trade agreement has left both parties diminished in combating terrorists and cross-border crime gangs, experts have warned. (FT)

Trump impeachment House Democrats have delivered an article of impeachment to the Senate charging Donald Trump with “incitement to insurrection” for his role in the deadly attack on the US Capitol. Dominion Voting Systems has filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani seeking $1.3bn for his alleged role in perpetuating the “big lie” about fraud in the 2020 election.

Biden set for ‘buy American’ push President Joe Biden is set to strengthen “buy American” provisions as part of a boost for domestic manufacturing that risks straining relations with US allies. The president also reversed Donald Trump’s ban on transgender military service. He is expected to sign a broad range of executive orders related to racial equity on Tuesday, followed by another round on climate change this week.

Richest football teams to miss €2bn The world’s 20 richest football clubs are on course to miss out on €2bn in revenue by the end of this season because of the pandemic, a bleak outlook against which some teams are accelerating plans for a breakaway “super league”. Separately, talks between Liverpool FC’s ownership and a blank-cheque company led by Moneyball executive Billy Beane have fallen apart. (FT)

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Merger Monday for Spacs Special purpose acquisition companies struck mergers worth more than $15bn on Monday, a sign of Wall Street’s euphoria for blank-cheque vehicles is becoming a major force for taking privately held businesses public. Elsewhere, asset management is primed for consolidation in 2021. (FT)

Bar chart of Share price rise since November 1, % showing Deal chatter boosts a number of asset managers

Italy’s PM to resign Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will resign on Tuesday in an escalation of political instability as the country battles both Covid-19 and a brutal recession. (FT)

Economic data UK labour market figures for September to November and December are out. (FT)

Earnings round-up Companies reporting on Tuesday include Microsoft, Starbucks, Johnson & Johnsons, Verizon, American Express, General Electric, 3M, Lockheed Martin, UBS, easyJet, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Hyundai Motor and Samsung. (FT)

Foreign workers flee UK An estimated 1.3m foreign workers have left the UK during the pandemic, with hospitality and retail most heavily affected. With government missteps over Covid-19 support and a rapidly-spreading new variant, community groups predict many will never return. The root problem of Britain’s reliance on migrant labour isn’t the price of food, writes Sarah O’Connor — it’s the inadequate floor on incomes. (FT)

Behind Johnson’s green conversion Boris Johnson, who once disdained David Cameron’s “green revolution,” is singing an almost identical tune to his predecessor fifteen years later. But as the UK prime minister attempts to reinvent himself as an eco-warrior, he will need to win over Conservative sceptics. (FT)

Navalny is a real threat to Putin Gideon Rachman writes that two years ago, he was unconvinced by a Russian friend who believed activist Alexei Navalny posed a serious danger to Vladimir Putin. But now, the fragility of the Russian regime is becoming clear. (FT)

EU-China deal gives Beijing too little to lose Our latest Trade Secrets newsletter looks at the EU-China investment deal following last Friday’s release of the draft text. The risk to Brussels’ credibility seems too high for the deal to be worth it, writes Alan Beattie. Sign up for Trade Secrets here. (FT)

Global chip shortage hits car supply chain China’s car market staged a dazzling recovery in the second half of last year, but it has come at a heavy price. The rebound has left companies including Volkswagen, General Motors and Honda facing a shortage in chips as a lockdown-driven boom in demand for semiconductors threatens to overwhelm chipmakers. (FT)

Column chart of Traditional PC sales worldwide* (units m) showing Work from home has boosted demand for PCs

Should I rent out my property? Pandemic disruption has created plenty of “accidental landlords” — homeowners with an empty property they could let out. Claer Barrett delves deeper with guest Jeremy, who is renting a room in a shared house, Ayesha Ofori, founder of the PropElle network for female property investors and author David Lawrenson. (FT)